tv [untitled] November 25, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
>> the regular meeting of the san francisco ethics commission will now come to order. >> i would like to extend a welcome to the newest commissioner, mr. peter king i was not here for the last hearing and so i just want to extend my personal welcome and glad you are aboard. >> thank you very much, madam chair and it is good to be here and i am enjoying on being on the commission and i am looking forward to serving you and the other members as well. >> and we look forward to you. >> any way, roll call. commissioner king? >> here. >> commissioner hur is excused, as is vice chair renne, he is also excused. commissioner andrews.
ordinance regulation 67.33-1 director st croix. >> expanding the number of ways that folks that have to file the sunshine ordinance declarations and the state ethics declarations currently they have to be filed at the office in paper fork. we are expanding this to allow them to send fax or e-mail or regular mail in order to safety that obligation and this will make it easier for folks to file those forms on a timely basis. additionally, we are authorizing the commission to set up a format for all electronic filing in the future. we don't have a platform for the electronic filing for these two forms yet. but we plan to at some point. as we generally are moving toward all electronic filing for the things that we do. i would just like to say that anything that we can do to make the filing for candidate and their staff easier, i think is an important... >> these actually effect the city, office holders and city employees who have to file these.
>> right. >> i agree with with mr. st. croix that this is something that is overdue in regard to all city activities that allow for electronic use of things rather than get us out of the paper age, so that it is certainly a good idea. >> i have observation which of what must be a typo or a mistake. in regards to the attachment, and the form for the certificate of ethics training. that is involved and attached and this died and i believe that there is a mistake, in the first bullet point, where it says please review the following to determine when you must complete the training.
it says if you are completing training in 2013 you must complete your ethics training within two years of your last training and here is where i think that the mistake is, for example, if you are satisfied in your training on march 3, 2013, you must complete another ethics training session by march second, 2014 and that is a contradiction. if it says that you have two years that should be, you must complete another ethics training session by march second 2015. and i think that should... and >> we will change it. >> okay. >> i figured this is an update. >> it is an update, the one that i filled out which is the one from before and actually had it correct for two years.
the problems were not with the forms just historically this one. >> any public comment on this matter? >> you can actually if you want to adopt them in a block. >> do i have a motion? do we need a motion that? do i hear a motion to adopt both of these changes? >> so moved. >> i second. >> all in favor. >> aye. >> aye. >> okay. and those two are passed and we move on to the next one. >> okay. >> the next draft regulation >> all right there are four proposed changes here. and what we are trying to do is elected official whose travel are required, sorry. >> sorry to interrupt, the city attorney, and i want to make
sure that we took the public comment on the last items? >> we did and there was no public comment. and seeing that there is only one member of the audience, i did not ask for additional public comment. >> thank you very much. >> so elected officials have to file and what the costs going to be and this is one of the requirements that we get a lot of questions about from the elected officials and the staffs and so we thought that if we would put the advice that we generally get them in the actual words and regulations it might make it easier to follow through these requirements. and so, the first discussion point is tracks the two changes
that we just adopted and again, this one can be filed not only in person but either by e-mail, regular mail or fax. >> if the individuals contribute to the cost of the trip, we always tell the officials to file a single form for all of the donor and we just put that practice into writing and the third decision point is basically i sort of follow the money. and frequently outside of the organizations, will donate to a for example, a sister city, committee. and in order to help defray the cost of these travels, and so we consider the original giver of the money toward the trip to be the source of those funds and not the intermediatary committee. and so when the elected
official accepts travel, and in these situations, they have to report where the original source of the money was, or is. and then the last point is also, very simple, because of the elected officials must report the cost of their trip before they go, frequently they have to use estimates. and so, what we have already allowed them to do is upon returning from the trip when they have the exact figures is to amend their report so that it reflects the amount numbers rather than the estimated numbers and again, this is a current practice and we are just putting it into words. >> all right, if i may just add a couple of things. and actually director st. croix was talking about agenda item number 6, and not number five.
and with respect to the regulations, and the subsection c, the staff has is suggesting a couple of amendments to that, and one is on the second line, of on page 3, under one. and we suggest using the word may rather than shall. so that it reads a contradiction reads in whole or in part to fund the trip from the repitore to the elected official may constitute a gift for the purposes of the pra and the conduct code. and there are also instances where they would not be deemed as gift and we want to make that clear. we also want to add a sentence just to make clear that this is what is in the state law right now and so the sentence that we would like to add at the end of
the sentence is except for sbpc regulation and regulation 9845 and the non-profit organization funding the trip if not the true source of a foot travel if it is merely an intermediatary for the contribution. and i apologize for skipping an agenda item. >> we will go back to. >> but since we are discussing this aspect, shall we, this particular change, on this decision point and commissioners. i think that it is desirable and certainly it is greater guidance looks very guidance and necessary guidance to someone who is in this position and so i would favor it. >> okay. >> and again, you can do the
fourth. and this is to send off if you want to. >> and i think that is anything that makes it easier, for elected officials candidates, staff, to do something, i think that that is something that we should always try to incorporate. any comment, any public comment on this matter? >> hearing none, now, do we want to cover the other, there are four decisions. >> if we make a motion to adopt all four? >> okay, all right. >> and the staff suggests changes. >> do i hear a motion to that effect? >> i move that we adopt these four decision points with the recommended staff changes. >> i second. >> all in favor? >> aye. >> aye. >> aye. >> the motion passes. >> now, we will go back to the draft regulation having to do
with the contract. >> okay. so, certain people who have contracts with the city that are less than six months old, and people who are seeking contracts with the city, are prohibited from making contributions to political candidates, for local office. and so it is incumbent upon the candidates to try to figure out who among their contributers are not allowed to make these, you know? and to not take these contributions. people who are band from making contributions are also not supposed to make them into the law. >> some candidates are using a disclaimer on the contribution forms and that say, if you have a contract with the city, that is less than 6 months old or if you are in negotiations on a contract you may not make contributions. so you have to check off a box that says i am not one of these people. this will, this may be able to give the candidate some measure
of having to do the due diligence and it is difficult to know and weed out who the contributers that should not be making contributions. and it is not mandatory, but we feel that it will be helpful to candidates and the contributers if they violate the law. >> the ownness is also on the contractor itself. >> and it was a contribution, and the candidate who takes it. >> they are both liability. >> and they share, and so this essentially would, put those people, and potentially in that situation, where they should not be making a contribution. now, give them the knowledge, you should not do this. and someone who has got a
contract with the city is much more likely to know it than the people that they are making the contributions to. so we are giving some measure of relief to candidates, who used this language in order to help the contributers who may be in this category. >> and this would be on all of the or any kind of printed material? all printed material, and if they are soliciting it. >> well, this could be on, and again as the director st. croix said that this is not mandatory and although, many committee and many candidates and their committees already have such a language, were just suggesting this as a way for candidates who have a very difficult time figuring out who is bared under section 1.26 to have a way out if they do have those documents, and if the contributor signs it, and then, it is, it shows that they performed their due diligence.
>> and the contributor signs it? >> yes, it is the distributor who signs it. >> under the state law, anybody who makes campaign contributions over $100 has to provide certain information including address and occupation. and so, candidates generally use contributor cards so that they can fill out this information. which they must report to us when they do their campaign reporting. so this, this is where this statement would appear on that card that the donor actually fills out. >> this is always, very tricky. i said that this is an executive director who holds some city contracts and i don't write any checks and i have seen in the past unwhitingly and knowingly that the executive director's partner, who shares a joint checking account is very excited about that candidate and if you can, jack played that out for me and writes the check and actually did not check in with the
executive director, who holds the contract, obviously to see, the officer of the agency, is that executive director, or is that particular person who holds that contract for the city? >> responsible for that? >> how is that? >> the people who can make contributions does not make it to the spouse of someone who can't and in general, for someone who has a joint account, that is used for the specific and whatever you want the partner to make the contribution and provided that the person, does not sign the check. and the signature to the check is the contributor. >> yes. yeah. and it that is a red flag, and you know, the people say so and so made a contribution on the check and it was actually the spouse, and you can avoid that trouble by using a separate
account. but the way that the law is written, we ought to require it. >> and i wonder since the underlying problems to make sure that you don't have people who are engaged in any kind of contracts, would do that. whether it might not be a good idea to make the language mandatory to begin with, rather than just to suggest it. and then we have got an assurance of due diligence and beyond the assurance of due diligence, we have the assurance that contracts that, contributions are not being made by people who should not be making the contributions. >> well, we actually talked with some interested person. and what we were told was, if you made this mandatory, there are, you would dissway contribution and so the candidate would not get the
contributions, if you made it mandatory. is what we were told. >> well, there are some contributions that we wanted to sway. >> well, there are contributions that are prohibited. >> yeah, that is what we are trying to do to make sure that those contributions don't get made, and are disswayed and so the idea that having the difficulty processing the idea while this is going to... >> dissway the contributions is my whole point. >> we want to sway. >> and the feeling was that the feel were just not contribute to the candidates generally. >> yeah. >> and it would be too much work. >> other thing, on the grassroots candidates, and it would be simple for them to, i guess create forms for people to fill out and so that would be another aspect of it.
>> i think that is more persuasive, in terms of just someone who make their way up. >> we can decide if it is going to be mandatory. my feeling is that if we made it optional now, i suspect that most candidates will do it at some point in the future and we can use that as a argument to make it mandatory. >> okay. >> we work on any complaint violation and we are a complaint based, yes. >> and the only way that we know that someone willfully or unwillingly violated this is if someone complaints to you telling you so and so is actually a contractor and they
made a contribution. and that is the only way this we would really know. >> right. and the forms that are filed for this particular when the contracts are made by the city officials we don't have a paper form and it is on the list of things to do, but we really only one move one a year and so that is a few years down the line and a more searchable data base and it will be better for the people to figure out and in the process but in the meantime, it is a tough responsible. >> and now, i would say, as we learned dramatically in the last month and a half or so, the government works slowly, in terms of electronic technology. and so we will forgive ourselves on that note. >> so, any further discussion on this? >> i just want to be clear so this is for anything over 100
dollars. and then i am practically just playing out how i in the years past, when i it has been a long 20 years since i was not an executive director and since i was going to the campaign and going to house parties and writing checks. i am just practically playing it out but the particular candidate has or is good friend and throws a house party and he speaks and people pull out their checkbooks and credit cards and it would be incumbent of that candidate to have these cards ready to go. >> yeah. >> and to strongly suggest or have the staff be, and remind everyone as they make their contribution that if it is going to be over $100 that you should fill this particular card out. >> yeah. and once, when they put up the cards and add the language, it is going to be there. >> it is going to be there. >> any further discussion, commissioners? >> and do i hear a motion?
adopt this change? >> so moved. >> second. >> all in favor? >> and there is no one in the public here. >> correct. >> all in favor? >> aye. >> aye. >> aye. >> i am so happy. >> okay. all right. so we are moving right along here today, i don't know what happened. >> yeah, i did. >> all right, so we are moving along to approval of the minutes of the last meeting on october 28th. >> any changes, or corrections to the minutes? >> no. >> okay.
do i hear a motion to approve the minutes? >> i move that we approve the minutes as written. >> okay. >> all if favor? >> aye. aye. >> aye. >> executive director's report. >> what do you have to tell me? >> i don't have any specific in the report, it is, it does mention that i taught a class at the university and i got a nice tweet for the ethics commission and a big shout out for john st. croix for the director and today's policy administration class, i thought that was nice. >> it is nice. >> i want to remind the commissioners that your anti-harassment training has to be completed by the end of december. and i send e-mails along the lines. and we are going to do, as you know, next year we go to all electronic filing for form 700s and so we schedule the trainings for february 5th at 2:00, and march 5th at 2:00 in
room 408 down the hall. >> and this is training for the general public? >> or for the people. >> for the filers. >> yeah. >> we don't necessarily need the training but we are provided it for the people that are going to face the difficulty. and i want to show you this, there is a city wide data base, that is being or has been created to allow people, the public greater access to information that is available through the city agencies. and this chart shows you the level of participation. by the department, and it is actually by user name and the top line steve massy is our tech person and so that purple line represents the ethics commission and you can see that participation and this far exceeds the other departments and steven wanted me to point out because he was a modest
young man that many, members of the staff actually made these contributions, data, but he is the main user, which is why his name is the one that is up there. but does he ever sleep? >> he is magnificent staffer and we are lucky to have him. finally i have one other thing that i would like to point out and i don't want to do this, it makes me very sad, but this tonight is mabeline's last meeting. but i am going to have a lock changed on the office door so she can't leave. >> it saddens me very much. >> saddens me very well. >> she come to my first meeting last week and seeing a former student of mine, mabel lang who i was looking forward to working with during my tenure, and we have had several
discussions, and communications over the past couple of weeks and they have been great and pleasant. and i am certainly going to miss you, and wish you well, in your future endeavors. >> maibl, you are getting a look of disapproval. >> but i will say, i concur, and we have over the, over the few months that you have been a great guide for me, and stepping in when john was busy, and answering my questions and i very much appreciate that and you very much remind me of my deputy director who retired in august, and she was the quiet storm and her name was chief, and i don't know if you have a nickname but her name was chief which was the under boss which means that she ran me and i suspect in many ways you are running that office too and i know that you will be missed and i want to thank you for your service and it is meaningful to the city and county of san francisco.
and the people that reside here. and so thank you. >> thank you. >> well, i just don't know what this commissioner is going to do without you. and i honestly mean that and i think that when people, you know, throw around disparaging comments about government, bureau crats or government workers it only indicates that they have did not encounter someone like you your thoroughness and your expertise and your skill make all of us stand in awe of what you do, and what you have done for us. so, you will be missed and i wish that i could talk you out of this. but, retirement can be pretty terrific. so, we wish you well, and we are very, very happy for you and this is not your last day though. >> no. >> when is your last day. >> january third. >> okay. >> so, thank you all for the
time and i really appreciate working with you, and i really appreciate every single member of the staff that has been wonderful. and i appreciate the city attorney's office and it is just about a really great, great experience. yeah. thank you very much. >> yes, and thank you. >> thank you. >> and we wish you well, in all of your future endeavors and so please stay in touch with you. in fact, if you would like you can come and sit in the audience. to comment. >> i would just add that commissioner andrews is a perfectly right and anybody who has ever had a deputy knows who the real boss is. >> pretty much. >> it was the partnership of a lifetime for me and i will miss it. >> okay. >> i just have one question in the report, i don't know what... and you may not have thsw